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Blog: Traveling With Kids
Road Trip Time

We're about to embark on one of the longer driving sections of our trip. We've got about seven hours of driving time ahead of us. Of course it may well take anywhere between 8 and 10 hours to actually get to our destination, depending on how the kids are doing. We don't believe in pushing it too much and can be easily persuaded to take half an hour here and there to explore something interesting either to give the kids a break or us a break!

We're used to traveling in our minivan at home which has plenty of room to put in extra toys, electronic gadgets, etc. But here, on vacation in New Zealand, we have borrowed my brother's second car which is a Ford Laser, a small hatchback. We're sadly lacking in cup holders, and we don't have our converter to plug in our electronic gadgetry. We're going to have to do this the old fashioned way!

(Two days later...)

We had a super time traveling up to Hanmer Springs. It did take us about nine hours and it rained for the first six! We took a couple of short breaks in the first part of the day, one to see Paul's grandmother, and the second, in the middle of the afternoon for a bathroom break and snack. We ate our picnic lunch in the car along the way because the rain was bucketing down at the time. We'd prepared easy finger foods sandwiches, some yummy mini filo parcels that Paul's aunt had made for us (these were a little crummy), apples, and some cake. Ian's lunch was a little more challenging on the go. Fortunately, he's started to eat finger foods too, so he did eat a sandwich and, being a small car, I was able to turn around and feed him fruit. Miraculously, most of the food went in his mouth. We did stop for a decent break at dinner time and sat down to eat some classic New Zealand fare fish and chips wrapped in newsprint paper. We keep a healthy supply of snacks on hand as well. We bring healthy snacks with us fresh, dried and freeze dried fruit, cheese, jerky, crackers, and such like. This stops us filling up on junk when we stop to fill up the car, although we did get ice cream at one stop.

A lot of the rest of the time was spent playing games. We played a favorite of Naomi's, "I spy." (One person chooses something they can see and says "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with" and says the letter that the item begins with. Everyone else tries to guess what the item is.) We played a version of travel bingo, where you have a list of things to spot and as you see them you cross them off your list. Naomi's not used to playing that one as much, so we find everything as a family. With children who are used to playing it, each person playing can have a list and the first person to spot their items wins. You can use pictures of the items if your children aren't reading.

We did have activity books and such like, but Naomi, who normally loves coloring in the car, found that she felt a little car sick in this car, so was only able to color for short periods. Naomi had her coloring books and pencils in a small backpack next to her seat. In the minivan, we have a small plastic bin that contains her toys. To compensate for not being able to color, since it doesn't rained much in Los Angeles, just watching the rain kept Naomi occupied for some time. We also spent some time singing together, including some Christmas carols which entertained Naomi no end since we kept forgetting the words and had to make some up! The kids slept the remaining time.

All in all, we had a very smooth trip, helped by accessible, easy-to-eat-in-the-car food, a variety of games, and some family interaction!

posted on: 12/20/2007 1:00:00 PM by Katherine Macey
category: Travel

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Traveling With Kids

by Katherine Macey

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About Katherine:

Katherine Macey, Ph.D., is a professional organizer who is passionate about helping people improve their lives and achieve their goals. She works mainly with academics in their offices and with residential clients in their home offices.

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